US doctor who cut off trucker's penis not liable: Jury

PHOTO: US doctor who cut off trucker's penis not liable: Jury

CHICAGO - A Kentucky doctor who cut off a truck driver's penis after discovering during a routine surgery that it was riddled with cancer does not need to pay damages to the man, a jury ruled Wednesday.

Phillip Seaton, 64, had gone to the doctor for a circumcision to relieve inflammation in 2007, Louisville's WLKY news reported.

He woke up to be told that the tip of his penis had been amputated.

Seaton sued Dr. John Patterson doctor for US$16 million (S$19.3 million) in damages, insisting that he had not granted his consent and that Patterson should given him the opportunity to seek a second opinion.

Patterson testified that he was simply doing what was "best" for his patient and that the consent form Seaton signed prior to the surgery was sufficient.

While Seaton does not read or write, 10 of 12 jurors said he had nonetheless consented to the surgery. They were unanimous in ruling that Patterson had exercised "reasonable care" during the surgery.

"We felt bad for the circumstances. (Seaton) has our sympathy. But at the same time, he's alive today because this man did what he did, because this man performed the surgery," jury forewoman Lydia Tapp told the Courier-Journal newspaper.

Seaton's attorney said the verdict set a dangerous precedent and vowed to appeal.

"If you look at the consent form they relied upon you could cut off the guy's right foot," Kevin George told reporters.

"The larger ramifications are that if this case stands - if the court of appeals doesn't change it - if you go into a surgery, I don't care who you are you or whatever you consent to, you may end up having something done to you even when there's no emergency."